What Are the Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection?

Teens are susceptible to urinary tract infections, both boys and girls. It is not easy to diagnose a urinary tract infection because the symptoms can be indicative of other conditions. Here are some basics about urinary tract infections and symptoms to watch for.

A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria are introduced into the urinary system at some point. The most common point of entry is the urethra. This is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. The beginning point for urine is the kidneys. Their job is to filter the fluid within the body. Whatever is not needed is excreted as urine. The urine passes from the kidneys to the bladder via the ureters.

For children, urinary tract infections have a variety of causes that you might not have considered. The first is toilet training. Girls who are ready for toilet training often experience more urinary tract infections as they learn how to wipe themselves and develop good hygiene habits. Wiping with toilet tissue from back to front can introduce bacteria from the anus into the urethra. The same can happen to boys (especially those who are uncircumcised) but is much less common.

Children have sensitive skin. Using perfumed bubble bath and deodorant soaps in their bath can irritate the urethral area and cause an infection. Some children experience a condition called vesicoureteral reflux when urine flows backwards towards the kidneys instead of just down and outwards.

For children and teens, there are more definitive signs that a urinary tract infection is taking place. A teen may complain that it hurts or stings when they urinate. You might notice that they are going to the bathroom much more often than normal even if they haven’t had much to drink.

Because of the problems with urination, they may wet themselves more at night. When they do urinate it could also wake them up from sleep. Pay attention to the odor. If there is any odor in their diaper or on their sheets, it is a sign that an infection may be happening. Your child might even say that their tummy hurts but point to the area right about where their bladder should be.

Getting medical attention will relieve the signs and symptoms. A fever needs to be investigated. Untreated urinary tract infections can spread to the kidneys and cause more severe symptoms.